Lake Vermilion Anglers Say The Fish Won't Bite

By KBJR News 1

September 29, 2011 Updated Sep 30, 2011 at 9:54 AM CDT

TOWER, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Walleye regulation on Lake Vermilion may soon change.

The Department of Natural Resources is asking anglers about the size of fish they're catching as part of a review of current rules.

Any walleye caught between 17 and 26 inches must be released according to the state's special walleye regulation.

Anglers may harvest up to four walleye but can only keep one walleye more than 26 inches long.

"The regulation is achieving what we intended, there is more big fish, catch rates are pretty good but obviously people want to keep some fish to catch and really, that is part of our management goal too," Tim Goeman, Regional Fisheries Manager in Grand Rapids said.

Many anglers spoke out at the public meeting on Thursday saying they are having a hard time catching fish below the slot range on the west end of the lake.

"In the spring it isn't bad, in the fall its pretty good but during the summer when it was good, its not good at all anymore," Jim Dick, an angler said.

The slot limit for walleyes has been placed on Lake Vermilion since 2006.

While the DNR is mandated to base its management regulations on science, officers say public input will help shape their main directive; to maintain a healthy fish population and protect the game for future generations

"A lot of times there is more than one way to achieve the goal that we are looking for," Jeff Eibler, Tower Fisheries Supervisor said. "If there is an over-riding sentiment from the public, to use a particular option as opposed to something else, you know, a different type of regulation or stocking or some other option, then that might steer us toward that decision, that path."

The DNR will continue to collect public comments until Oct., 14.

A summary of the public input will be sent to the regional office in Grand Rapids and then to the state office in St. Paul.

"I think they ought to put all the lakes the same, every lake you go to is different, you gotta have a book to figure out what you can catch and what you can't catch," Pete Ferry, an angler said. "I think it should be like Lake of the Woods, 19 and a half inches, four fish."

DNR officers say the new regulations will be put in place for next spring.

Those unable to attend the meeting who would like to make a comment may contact local DNR fisheries.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch